Online community sale groups are growing in popularity. Rather than sell to anonymous buyers, community groups are popping up on Facebook, all over northeast Ohio. The idea is that you sell to your neighbor and carry out transactions the old fashioned way: exchanging cash for goods, sometimes right on your doorstep.
But there are traditionalists who would prefer to clean out their closets and unburden their basements by hauling all of those no longer needed items out onto the front lawn and setting up shop. Yard sales are still as popular as ever, but are they worth the trouble?
We decided to do some comparison selling. We hit up HomeGoods and the Gap, buying brand new, but inexpensive items: a vase, a laundry hamper, and a boy's onesie. We bought two of each and split the identical items between two sellers.
Retiree Linda Caster started selling unwanted items online about a year ago. "I mean, it's amazing. In one week, I just recently took $580 to the bank, mostly a lot of ones. And I look at it as a part-time job," Linda said proudly. She sells on Facebook and has made more than 3-grand.
That made Linda perfect for our experiment. We put three of our items at a garage sale in Bay Village. We priced the vase at just 8 bucks. Same price for the hamper. And the onesie at $5.
Linda listed the identical items on her Facebook sales group for the exact same prices.
Within the hour, the hamper sold. "So the hamper, I knew that would go and I'm sure the vase will go shortly too," Linda said.
It did. Within 3 hours, buyers picked it up from her porch.
While back at the garage sale: "Nothing yet. They have not sold," said homeowner Chrissy Smink. We asked Chrissy if she would ever try selling online. Turns out she did. "No bidders. No, nope, nothing. And I thought, well that stinks," said Chrissy.
Yet, Linda Caster swears you can sell almost anything if you follow the rules.
Next. Learn the language. For example:
PPU means porch pick up.
NIL means next in line.
NWT means new with tags.
EUC means excellent used condition.
CP or XP means cross-posted. An item could be on another site and spoken for.
Good pictures are a must. Make sure they are displayed against a light background. Clothing should be on hangers. If there are any blemishes, imperfections or worn-marks be up front and spell them out clearly in your sale post. Post pictures of the blemishes too.
Linda recommends pricing low to sell, while always, always telling the truth. "You know it's okay if something has a little flaw to it. Be honest," Linda said.
But the women had theories. Chrissy says she didn't advertise kids clothes at her sale. Linda believes the onesie would have gone, had she posted on a site specializing in kids resale items.
If you want to give an online community group sale a try, think safety first. Many police departments now offer their parking lots for safe transactions, if you don't want strangers at your home.